Wor­ship­ping the Same or a Dif­fer­ent God ?

This is a response to the mis­sion­ary arti­cle on a so-called error” in the Qur’an. We basi­cal­ly feel that this claim of theirs with regard to this being an error” in the Qur’an is best described as an incon­se­quen­tial polemic”. They claim that the prob­lems that this surah pos­es should be appar­ent to any­one famil­iar with both the Qur’an and the Islam­ic tra­di­tions”, and to repro­duce the mis­sion­ary rhetoric, they iden­ti­fy the first prob­lem” as :

First prob­lem : Whom exact­ly is this Surah refer­ring to ?

(a) The Peo­ple of the Book (Jews, Chris­tians, per­haps Sabians)?
(b) The Mec­can idolaters ? 

First, let us estab­lish the cor­rect method­ol­o­gy in our inter­pre­ta­tion of the above verse. We will use the Qur’an to inter­pret the Qur’an, as this is the per­fect­ly accept­ed method­ol­o­gy as adopt­ed in Qur’an­ic exe­ge­sis. There­fore, if we use the Qur’an to inter­pret the Qur’an, it can eas­i­ly be not­ed that the Qur’an presents many dif­fer­ent types of dis­be­liev­ers. There­fore, a per­son should go back and look through the Qur’an to iden­ti­fy which type of dis­be­liev­er” fits the cat­e­go­ry of surah 109. This is the cor­rect way of under­stand­ing the Qur’an.

Now, mov­ing on to the dis­put­ed” surah, we read that :

Say : O dis­be­liev­ers ! I wor­ship not that which ye wor­ship ; Nor wor­ship ye that which I wor­ship. And I shall not wor­ship that which ye wor­ship. Nor will ye wor­ship that which I wor­ship. Unto you your reli­gion, and unto me my reli­gion.” (Q. 109:1 – 6)

It is estab­lished in any author­i­ta­tive surah of the Prophet (P) that this verse is a Makkan surah which was revealed when the idol­a­tors in Makkah con­front­ed the Prophet(P) with a pro­pos­al” to counter his pub­lic preach­ing in the city.Therefore the answer to the mis­sion­ary rhetoric is (b). We cer­tain­ly do not see how the mis­sion­ar­ies could claim that there are prob­lems” in this verse in regard to who it is direct­ed at, when it is clear that any­one who under­stands the asbab an-nuzul of this surah sees no prob­lems in it !

It should be not­ed that if a reli­gion’s con­cept of God is incor­rect even though there are some ele­ments of truth in its con­cep­tion of God, then Mus­lims will nei­ther wor­ship that God nor will the dis­be­liev­ers wor­ship our dif­fer­ent con­cept of God (or oth­er­wise it will negate their religion).The Qur’an nev­er stat­ed that any oth­er reli­gion’s con­cept of God is com­plete­ly cor­rect. This is clear­ly not­ed in ayah 4:36, “…wor­ship Allah and join none with Him in worship”.

The so-called sec­ond prob­lem” gen­er­at­ed by the mis­sion­ar­ies is the claim that the above s?rah con­tra­dicts vers­es such as :

…our God and your God is One, and unto Him we sur­ren­der.” (Q. 29:46)

To make things clear, the mis­sion­ary is real­ly claim­ing that his inter­pre­ta­tion of ayah 29:46 is in con­tra­dic­tion. There­fore, in order to arrive at the cor­rect inter­pre­ta­tion it is very impor­tant that we do not look at vers­es in a vac­u­um, and divorce it from the con­text — ayahs 3:64 and 5:74 informs us that there is some­thing false about the Chris­tians’ under­stand­ing of God, and that they have too many gods in their belief (Trin­i­ty). This God is One” has been clear­ly defined and excludes the Trin­i­ty or sons of God”.

There­fore, ayah 29:46 is not stat­ing that the Chris­tians have a cor­rect under­stand­ing of God in this verse or the cor­rect num­ber of Gods and Mus­lims share in that under­stand­ing. That is a false and twist­ed inter­pre­ta­tion. Rather, the only oth­er valid inter­pre­ta­tion is that the Qur’an is teach­ing the Chris­tians the truth about the God which they read about in the Bible, by reaffirming :

Our God and YOUR God is One.” (Q. 29:46)

This phrase God is One” has already been defined in the Qur’?n as one being with­out Trin­i­ty or a Son :

O peo­ple of the Scrip­ture (Jews and Chris­tians)! Do not exceed the lim­its in your reli­gion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Mes­si­ah Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Mes­sen­ger of Allah and His Word, (“Be!” — and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spir­it (Ruh) cre­at­ed by Him ; so believe in All?h and His Mes­sen­gers. Say not : Three (trin­i­ty)!” Cease ! (it is) bet­ter for you. For All?h is (the only) One Il?h (God), Glo­ry be to Him (Far Exalt­ed is He) above hav­ing a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heav­ens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All Suf­fi­cient as a Dis­pos­er of affairs.” (Q. 4:171)

Here we see God direct­ly address­ing both the Jews and Chris­tians (with spe­cial ref­er­ence to the lat­ter). Notice how the phrase Allah (God) is one” is being used here to con­demn the Chris­t­ian under­stand­ing of God (Trin­i­ty, Son­ship, Divin­i­ty of Christ), and also, to cor­rect the false Chris­t­ian under­stand­ing of the Chris­tians but emphat­i­cal­ly stat­ing for Allah is (the only) One Ilah ! There­fore, if Chris­tians believe that Jesus is God, part of a Trin­i­ty, or has a Son­ship with God, they obvi­ous­ly do not belive in one God as defined by the Qur’an. There­fore, it is clear that when the Qur’an pro­nounces God is One” to the Chris­tians it is not agree­ing with the Chris­t­ian con­cept of God, rather it goes on the offen­sive in con­demn­ing and cor­rect­ing their beliefs.

There­fore, to rephrase this statement :

    If God is One = the God, with­out part­ners or a Trinity

    then

    Our God and your God, is God with­out part­ners or a Trinity

The author of the Qur’an is pro­nounc­ing to the Chris­t­ian that GOD IS ONE ! It is com­plete­ly irrel­e­vant as to what the Chris­tians already believed about their God, it means noth­ing to the author of the Qur’an in ayah 29:46 because the Qur’an is telling them what is the truth. Nev­er­the­less, it is admit­ted that the Chris­tians do wor­ship this God but they wor­ship this God in tan­dem with addi­tion­al part­ners (‘ayahs 3:64, 5:74).

It will always be a mis­sion­ary fan­ta­sy to find inco­her­ance” or prob­lems” with­in the Noble Qur’an. The biggest prob­lem in these types of dis­cus­sions, how­ev­er, is that the Chris­tians have been duped into believ­ing that they are strict monothe­ists who wor­ship only one God, which is a total­ly false assump­tion from the start. Please also keep in mind that the Qur’an also clear­ly states that the Bible has been cor­rupt­ed (‘ayahs 2:79, 4:157), which would explain how the Chris­tians fell into false doc­trines about God.

We have used the tra­di­tion­al method of Qur’an­ic exe­ge­sis, i.e., al-Qur’an yufas­siru ba’­duhu ba’­dan (dif­fer­ent parts of the Qur’an explain each oth­er). What is giv­en in a gen­er­al way in one place is dis­cussed in detail in some oth­er place in the Qur’an. What is dealt with briefly at one place is expand­ed in some oth­er place.

And only God knows best ! Worshipping the Same or a Different God? 1Endmark

Cite this arti­cle as : Nadir Ahmed & Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, Wor­ship­ping the Same or a Dif­fer­ent God ?,” in Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma, Octo­ber 14, 2005, last accessed Feb­ru­ary 28, 2024, https://​bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org/​q​u​r​a​n​/​w​o​r​s​h​i​p​p​i​n​g​-​t​h​e​-​s​a​m​e​-​o​r​-​a​-​d​i​f​f​e​r​e​n​t​-​g​od/

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